It's no secret that China is quite strict when it comes to entertainment for the youth. Last year, it announced a new regulation that limited minors to only one hour of gaming per day on the weekends and absolutely no access to games on the weekdays. It enforces these rules by pressuring publishers and game developers to introduce these restrictions in their games.
Now, for the first time since July of last year, two of China's biggest gaming companies, Tencent Holdings and NetEase, have received permission to release new paid games in the country. China's regulator National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) granted these licenses to 73 online games out of which the vast majority (69) are mobile titles.
It is important to note that not all companies had their licenses paused for the entire period of July 2021 - September 2022. In fact, Beijing offered licenses to 241 games between April 2022 and August 2022, but none of these titles were made by NetEase or Tencent. As such, both firms are now finally able to distribute new paid games after a 14-month break.
Following this news, NetEase's shares surged by 5% on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in pre-market before falling again in the morning.
In order to combat their domestic challenges, both NetEase and Tencent have been eyeing greener pastures in the overseas markets as of late. NetEase recently acquired western game studio and Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream whereas Tencent purchased a 16.25% stake in Elden Ring developer FromSoftware too.
It is important to understand that China has been strengthening its hold over its local tech sector as a whole recently, its reach is not limited only to the gaming space.
Source: Nikkei Asia